Chris Rouse watches soap operas while composing. Glenn Gould listened to the radio at full blast while practicing. Kabalevsky would write during parties. I find myself writing for 15 minutes, taking a break, going for a walk, checking my email, calling someone, and then returning to work, spending my day leaving and returning to a piece. Sometimes, I bring a sketchbook to a movie or a lecture, working at unlikely places and times. I wouldn’t call it procrastinating, but it is a kind of avoidance of immersing oneself completely in the solitary act of creating music.
Spring has hit Rome and staying inside a dark studio is becoming increasingly difficult. There are days when I find composing a bit like going to the gym—I don’t look forward to it and it’s agony while I’m at it, but it just makes me feel so good afterwards.
How do you work…or avoid work?